THE iconic Peter Womersley-designed Netherdale Stand officially reopened on Saturday ahead of the visit from Rangers B.

The 500 capacity stand which opened in 1964 was awarded a 'B' category listing by Historic Scotland in December 2006, which meant that the "character and setting" of the building must be preserved for "future generations". It was then upgraded to 'A' category seven years later.

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But the stand was forced to close during the winter of 2018 due to significant public health and safety concerns associated with spalling concrete. A structural assessment was initially conducted in 2019 highlighting the required repairs needed to the stand.

Ross Buchan, chairman of Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust, led the project and formally opened the stand ahead of kick off on Saturday.

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He said: “It was great to have the opportunity to welcome supporters to Netherdale and to our game against Rangers B on Saturday (29th October 2022). A fitting occasion on which to open the Stand following the successful completion of the Stand Repair Project.

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“The Stand Repair Project has been a five-year journey starting exactly five Years ago in October 2017. The Project to repair the ‘A’ Listed Stand has provided an opportunity to improve the 3G Arena facility for the Communities in the Borders and for those with a wider National and International interest in the Stand.

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“This successful project has involved many groups and individuals working in partnership. Saturday was the ideal occasion to acknowledge and thank Funders, Scottish Borders Council, Historic Environment Scotland andFallago Environment Fund for the financial support, the Project Design Team, led by Structural Engineer Steve Wood of David Narro Associates,SBC’s Project Management Team, Councillors Parker and Jardine, Community Development Organisation, The Bridge, GFRFC Chairman RyanCass and his Board and Contractor CRL (Concrete Repair Limited) led by Tony Parsons for making the project such a tremendous success.

“It was also an ideal opportunity to acknowledge the Gala Fairydean Treasurer, Jimmy Walker, who was at the centre of raising the original funding for the construction of the Stand in 1964 and through hisfriendship with Architect Peter Womersley was able to engage thedesigner on the conception and construction of the Stand.

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Ryan Cass, the club's chairman, added: “It’s been a long time coming. I appreciate the hard work done by Scottish Borders Council, Live Borders and everyone connected with the redevelopment.

“But in particular, I’d like to thank Ross Buchan. All his hard work has paid off. He deserves all the plaudits and if it hadn’t been for Ross this wonderful stand would still be boarded up or even closed for good.”

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Former Hibs Celtic and Scotland star John Collins said: “It’s a fabulous and iconic stand and for me a special place. I had some great days as a young boy sitting in that stand. It was like being at Hampden Park.